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Hamburger Mary's Fights Back After Being Vandalized With Antigay Slur

Hamburger Mary's Fights Back After Being Vandalized With Antigay Slur


The owners of a franchise in Chicago are combating hate with love.

Antigay patrons reportedly had a message for a popular LGBT restaurant in the Windy City: "Die fags."

Ashley Wright, the co-owner of the Hamburger Mary's in Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood, said that Sunday morning he discovered those words written in graffiti on one of the doors of the location's single-occupancy bathrooms.


"My first reaction when I saw it was actually annoyed," Wright said in an interview with Chicago TV station WMAQ. "Literally a split second later it was just sort of this gut wrenching feeling."

Wright told the Windy City Times that a bartender discovered the slur at the end of his shift the previous evening and texted his boss about the graffiti, but Wright was asleep at the time of the incident.

Wright explained that the timing likely isn't an accident. The restaurant was featured on CBS's Undercover Boss two weeks prior.

On the popular program's May 15 episode, Wright and his twin brother, Brandon, with whom he operates the franchise, went undercover at three locations: Jacksonville, Fla.; Kansas City, Mo.; and Long Beach, Calif. Hamburger Mary's, which launched in 1972 in San Francisco, operates 13 locations across the country.

Referring to the restaurant as an "open-air bar and grill for open-minded people," the brothers explained that being gay wasn't easy in Austell, Ga., the town in which they were born.

"Growing up, we got the sense that being gay was wrong," Wright said. "These days, everybody wants a gay friend. But back then, it was like we had to keep that to ourselves." He explained that throughout high school, the brothers were repeatedly referred to as the "fag twins."


Having heard messages like these his whole life, Wright decided to take a stand. "It wasn't just a tag," he told Chicago TV station WGN. "It was a pretty blatantly hurtful thing that someone wrote on there. I decided I wanted to do something. Instead of painting it back to black, I wanted to cover it with something that represents the opposite of what this person wrote."

Wright spray-painted the door in what he calls a "multicolored tribute," one he further told WMAQ serves as "a testament -- a shrine if you will -- to acceptance and diversity." In addition to the rainbow-themed makeover, Wright painted the word "love" in place of the original epithet.

According to Wright, the police are currently investigating the incident. To aid authorities, Hamburger Mary's reportedly has security footage of the alleged vandal leaving the establishment.

Watch a video report about the incident below.

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